Summary: The process which believers can draw near to God.
In Ken Jones’ book When You’re All of Noodles, he tells about a lesson that he learned in his office one day. When I walked into my office, I noticed something I had never seen before. It was round, about the size of a dessert plate, and plugged into the wall, giving out a constant noise. It wasn’t a loud noise, just constant. What in the world is that thing? I thought as I stopped to stare. I finally asked the receptionist about it. She said, “It’s an ambient noise generator. If it’s too quiet in here, we can distinguish the voices in the counseling offices, and we want to protect their privacy. So we bought the noise generator to cover the voices. Her explanation made perfect sense to me, but didn’t have to be louder to mask the conversations, I asked. “No,” she said. “The constancy of the sound tricks the ear so that what is being said can’t be distinguished. Interesting, I thought, Very Interesting, one kind of noise to cover the sound of another. It made me think and pray. No wonder, Lord, no wonder I strain to hear what you have to say to me…. The constant of sound-little noises, soft, inward ambient thoughts and fears and attitudes-trick the ear of my inner man and masks your still, small voice.
II. How’s your life with Christ Jesus? Are you close to him tonight? Can you hear Him when he whispers your name? If you cannot answer yes to these questions listen to what James 4:8 has to say.
III.“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
IV. How can we draw near to the Lord Almighty?
V. It’s a two-part process in which we draw close to God.
a. Cleanse your hands
b. Purify your heart
VI. Cleanse you hands, you sinners;
a.What does it mean to cleanse our hands?
b. Changing Spark Plugs. I saw that my hands were dirty, then I had to decide to wash them. I had to turn on the water, put soap on my hands, scrub and then wash off.
c. It’s a process to cleanse our hands.
Self-examination – Seeing hands are dirty, Must see the sin in our lives.
a. In Ps. 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
b. Job examined himself in 31:6 “Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know my integrity.”
c. Jesus wants us to in the Lords Supper.
d. Is self-examination fun? NO! Robert Fulghum in book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten says; “The examined life is no picnic.”
f. Its not fun see how the sins in our lives.
g. We must see the sin in our lives in order that we might be cleansed.
Humble ourselves before the Lord.
a. Does a man ask for directions? NO
b. We don’t want to admit that we are wrong
c. This is because of Pride. C.S. Lewis said about pride, “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is pride, unchastity, anger, greed, and drunkenness are mere flea biters in comparison. It was pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leas to every other vice. IT is the complete anti-God state of mind. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people, and of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above.”
e. Humble means to “depress; figuratively to humiliate (in condition or heart):—abase, bring low, humble (self).”
f. We must recognize that we can not do it alone.
g. We cannot save ourselves by our works. Eph. 2:8,9:”For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourself; it the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
h. We humble ourselves so God can be Lifted up
i. Lower ourselves to rely on Him instead of us relying on ourselves.
VII. Purify our hearts. - First we cleanse by humble ourselves and examining our lives.
Purifying is a process – It’s a refining process. Metal heating up. Removing the Dross
Is. 1:25 “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.”
a. Process we go through is spending time with our Lord on a Daily basis. By praying and reading His word. This is the refiner’s fire for us.
Prayer, Talking with the Lord.
a. Once we humble and examine ourselves we must ask the Lord to out us into His refining fire. Just as Isaiah did.